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A Singing Stream: A Black Family Chronicle

Film by Tom Davenport
Produced by Davenport Films with Dan Patterson, Allen Tullos, and UNC Curriculum in Folklore
Cinematographer: Tom Davenport with Zach Kreiger and Tom Rankin
Sound: Allen Tullos with Barry Dornfeld and Brett Sutton
Editing: Tom Davenport and Marcia Neidley
Copyright: Copyright 1986, Tom Davenport
57 minutes, Color
Original format: Film: 16mm, 1986
Distributor: Davenport Films
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Home streaming only. For other permissions apply to Tom Davenport or to the distributor, Davenport Films.


Preview one minute trailer - Comment on film


The story of a gifted African American family from the rural South. With interviews and stories, and scenes from daily life, reunions, gospel concerts, and church services, the film traces the history of the Landis family of Granville County, North Carolina, over the lifetime of its oldest surviving member, 86-year-old Mrs. Bertha M. Landis. Particularly featured are performances by her sonsí gospel quartet The Golden Echoes of such songs as "Troubles of the World," "Going up to Meet Him," and "The Old Rugged Cross," and family and church performances of "Mighty Close to Heaven," Come and Let's Go to that Land," and "There's Union up in Heaven."

Director Tom Davenport has managed to capture the Landises -- at a family reunion, performing gospel concerts, going about the business of their daily lives -- without intruding or making them self-conscious. That allows him to reflect not only on the strength of this particular family, but to use it as a micocosm reflecting the slow process of social and cultural change in this region... [The Landis's singing]...is always joyful, rich and nourishing, and it's not hard to see how positive values have flowed through four generations and, one suspects, more to come."
--- Richard Harrington, The Washington Post


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